Stoner disappointed to see Rossi ousted from factory ride
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 23rd June, 2020 - 10:55am
Casey Stoner has admitted he’s disappointed at the prospect that Valentino Rossi will race for a satellite team in 2021.
Rossi has been ousted from the factory Yamaha team with Maverick Vinales set to be joined by Fabio Quartararo.
Though without a seat at the factory team, Rossi has at least been offered a factory machine to be run by a satellite operation.
It’s a disappointing development for Stoner.
“I believe if he left the sport a little earlier he would have left a legacy, which he still always will,” Stoner told Fox Asia.
“But now he’s showing himself to be very beatable.
“It’s disappointing to see someone, who anyone would have wanted to be in their team and paid an absolute fortune to have him, now (potentially) demoted to a satellite team.”
At 41 years of age, Rossi has competed in the top tier of motorcycling competition since 2000, winning the last 500cc world championship in 2001 and the maiden MotoGP competition the following year.
He’s recorded a total of seven premier class titles in that time, and finished either second or third on eight other occasions – including in his debut season.
However, his last win came at the Dutch TT in 2017, the second longest dry spell in his career with only his two seasons with Ducati netting fewer results.
Despite the dip in form last season, when Rossi scored just two podiums, Stoner believes Rossi still has the pace to be a race winner.
“I think Valentino still has potential to get some great results and maybe push to some victories in the future, without a doubt. You don’t just lose it,” he reasoned.
“It is sad to see him not necessarily threatening for the podium as much as he used to.”
Stoner also believes that he still has what it takes to challenge Marc Marquez for race wins.
The Australian retired from competition in 2012 having won two titles; one with Ducati and another with Honda.
Marquez made his premier class debut with Honda the following season, with Stoner working as a test rider for the Japanese squad.
“I’ve always been asked that question,” Stoner said when asked if he could beat Marquez on track.
“Do I think I can beat Marc (in) some races? Yes, the fact that Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) has, Jorge (Lorenzo) has, Valentino has, Dani (Pedrosa) has… if other people can beat Marc, of course I can.
“But, over a championship, Marc – especially in the last few years – has become extremely consistent, ironed out a lot of his weaknesses and he’ll be very tough to beat.”
The 2020 MotoGP season is set to commence with the Grand Prix of Spain at Jerez on July 19.